Home care’s stock has continued to rise, as partners and payers increasingly acknowledge the value of non-medical support. But as home care providers solidify their role in the larger care continuum, they will need to beef up their sales and marketing efforts in order to truly capitalize on opportunities.
At Griswold Home Care, this means becoming more strategic with the company’s sales, marketing and referral efforts, COO Steven Turner said Wednesday during the Home Health Care News Sales First Summit.
“Because of the need for more caregivers, we really had to become much more focused about where we’re going, who we’re talking to and what we say when we go out,” he said. “Several years ago, we might have gone with brochures and business cards, [talking to] everybody possible. You just can’t do that anymore because if they give you business, you may not be able to take it.”
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based Griswold Home Care currently provides personal care services across 200 locations in 30 states. The franchiser has seven corporate-owned offices and also offers hospice care at some of its locations, plus an array of other services aimed at enabling aging in place.
Turner also pointed out that the COVID-19 emergency has changed the way conversations take place. A new trend has emerged during the public health emergency — parking lot conversations.
“[Due to] COVID rules, you may only get to see somebody in a parking lot,” he said. “You bring them a beverage and talk to them in the parking lot for five minutes, but you make sure you’re leaving them educated.”
Turner noted that the days of dropping by to speak to a discharge planner are over.
“People have had to kind of improvise,” he continued. “Getting behind the person who’s sitting at the front used to be what we all desire, but that’s not how we have to do business. We do it a million different ways. We’re doing it via Zoom, we’re doing it in parking lots, and we’re doing it outside at networking events. … We’re doing it everywhere, except for where we might have done it before.”
Similar to Griswold Home Care, 24 Hour Home Care has had to be more strategic when it comes to its sales, marketing and referral efforts.
“We’ve invested quite a bit in analytics to see where we can make the biggest impact and where our caregivers can make the biggest impact,” Gavin Ward, director of strategic partnerships at 24 Hour Home Care, said during the discussion. “The nice thing is, while some of our referral sources may be disappointed that we don’t do a two-hour, one-time-only case, typically, they get it. Referral sources have been more receptive to us having some restrictions that we couldn’t have before.”
Los Angeles-based 24 Hour Home Care is an independent, non-medical home care provider with 23 locations across California, Arizona and Texas.
Instead, 24 Hour Home Care is focused on taking on “the right type of client” — those that will enable the company to make the biggest impact. The company has baked this into its sales and marketing messaging.
“Here’s the message we’re going to take out in the field — we can’t take on everything,” Ward said. “We can’t be as flexible as we want to be right now, but here’s what we can do instead. The clients themselves, not just the referral sources, have been pretty understanding for the most part, which has really helped us continue to grow and sustain our businesses during this tough time.”
Storytelling has also been integral to 24 Hour Home Care’s business, according to Ward.
“The power of storytelling has been beneficial,” he said. “[This means] giving examples and case studies, walking the referral source through how we’ve helped a patient versus just [stating] we have a readmission rate that’s really low.”
For Griswold Home Care, metrics have become a key part of its sales and marketing strategy. Additionally, the company seeks online reviews.
Word of mouth referrals also still playing a major role in Griswold Home Care and 24 Hour Home Care’s businesses.
Home care providers have also had to become more strategic with their sales and marketing strategy as it pertains to payer types, including Medicaid or Medicare Advantage.
“We might go out and have a coffee with someone in the parking lot, bring them a $2 Starbucks [beverage],” Ward said. “A lot of referral sources can accept that, but government [payers] cannot. [In those cases], we’re not going to invest in as much swag or the food and beverage budget.”
Ultimately, Turner believes the greater appreciation for non-medical home care has helped open doors, but providers still have something to prove once they are in.
“Once the doors open, what are you going to do when you get in,” he said. “When a relationship is built and someone says, ‘Yes we want to work with you,’ that’s just the first step. Then we have to execute on that. Our job is to make their lives easier when a referral comes in.”